Balsamic Honey Roasted Pork (Paleo)

Balsamic Honey Pork Roast

According to my husband, this recipe is money.  I have to agree–this is probably my favorite sauce I’ve ever made for a meat.  It’s sweet, it’s tangy, it’s savory…it makes you want to eat it off of a spoon.  No joke.  The pork roast was partially frozen when I put it in the slow cooker.  I cooked it for about seven hours until the internal temperature hit 145, and at that point the meat was practically falling off the bone.  Delicious.

If you want to sear this before putting it in the slow cooker, you can; however, it turns out perfectly without that step, so unless you really want to add an extra step, there’s no need to sear it before adding to the slow cooker.  You could cook this on high if you really wanted to make it in a shorter time frame, but I wouldn’t recommend it.  Just pick a day when you have the time to do this low and slow.  You’ll thank me later on, I promise.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Pork (Paleo)

Serves 4 (if you’re lucky)

2-4 pound bone-in Boston butt pork roast

salt and pepper

1/4 C balsamic vinegar

1/4 C honey

1/4 C ground mustard (not dry mustard, ground prepared mustard)

2 Tbsp coconut aminos

2 Tbsp Kerrygold, divided

2 Tbsp maple syrup

2 tsp arrowroot starch

 

1.- Salt and pepper the pork roast.  Place in slow cooker and turn on low.

2.- In a small bowl, whisk balsamic vinegar, honey, ground mustard, and coconut aminos until well blended.  Pour over top of roast.  Put Kerrygold pieces on top of roast.  Cook on low for 5-8 hours (depending on the size of the roast).  Remove roast and allow to rest.

3.- Mix arrowroot with a little water until smooth.  Pour into the slow cooker bowl with the leftover sauce and juices.  Add in maple syrup.  Whisk until slightly thickened and combined.  Add salt and pepper if desired.  If the arrowroot makes it too thick, add in a little coconut aminos and stir.  Slice pork thin and serve with sauce.

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken (Primal)

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken

Even though I make a lot of crazy looking stuff (I’ve been told it’s “fancy looking,” whatever that means, HAHA!), sometimes I make something that’s just a few ingredients.  I know, I know, my recipes usually involve at least six ingredients along with 20 herbs and spices.  This doesn’t.  This has four ingredients plus salt and pepper (Okay, who really counts those as ingredients?  I don’t!).  If you want to make this Whole30 compliant, just take out the cheese.  It will be just as flavorful (just not as ooey-gooey mozzalicious).

You can use any kind of roasted red peppers–I got some kind that were fire roasted and packed in olive oil.  Whatever kind you get will be fine.  As for mozzarella: only use fresh mozzarella for this recipe…as in, the kind that’s in a big ball or braid.  If you are thinking about making this with shredded mozzarella from a plastic bag, just don’t even bother.  YUCK.  Seriously, you might as well use wood chips.  I’m not sure what they put in bags of shredded mozzarella, but I’m 700% certain that it isn’t actually mozzarella…or even cheese, for that matter.

Roasted Red Pepper Chicken (Primal)

Serves 4

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

handful of baby spinach leaves

roasted red peppers

fresh mozzarella (cut in 1/4″ slices)

salt and pepper

olive oil

 

1.- Pound chicken breasts thin (to 1/2″ thickness).  Preheat oven to 400.

2.- Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook chicken for 3-4 minutes on each side (until no longer pink).

3.- Line baking sheet with foil.  Layer cooked chicken, then a few spinach leaves, then mozzarella, and then roasted red pepper on top.  Bake until cheese is fully melted (about 10 minutes).

Chicken Fajita Bowl (Primal with Dairy Toppings, Whole30 Compliant without)

Chicken Fajita Bowl

This is one of my favorite types of meals because there are an unlimited number of items you can add to it.  And bonus points: it all goes in the slow cooker!  That being said, it’s not really one that you can leave all day while at work, unless you choose a meat other than boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  I don’t normally use those cuts of meat, but they’re easier for the shredding in this recipe, so I chose the easier route.

For toppings, you can add whatever really.  We generally eat a primal diet, so I shredded a little cheese and added a spoonful of sour cream.  Other toppings I’ve used with this are: green onions, red onions, avocados, chopped tomatoes, bacon, pico de gallo, cilantro, pineapple, etc.  Feel free to add whatever sounds good to you in the moment!

A word about the fajita seasoning: I make my own and store it in a baby food jar.  I throw together something along the lines of this:

3 Tbsp chili powder

2 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp paprika

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 Tbsp garlic powder

1 tsp cayenne

1 Tbsp cumin

Chicken Fajita Bowl (primal with dairy toppings, Whole30 compliant without)

Serves 3-4

1/4 C Kerrygold butter

3 green bell peppers, sliced

3 red bell peppers, sliced

2 large yellow onions, sliced

4 chicken breasts

3 Tbsp fajita seasoning

1/2 C salsa

 

1.- Turn slow cooker on low.  Add butter to the bottom of the bowl.

2.- Layer green peppers, onion, red peppers, and finally chicken on top.  Sprinkle seasoning over top and pour in salsa.

3.- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.  Shred chicken, mix with vegetables, and serve with desired toppings.

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Chicken Marsala

Chicken Marsala is typically made with breaded chicken and cornstarch, making it off the paleo list.  I love the taste of it though, so I reworked it to be a paleo-friendly recipe.  If you avoid wine, there really isn’t a good way to make this without…so you probably won’t want to make this recipe.  If you’re okay with a bit of wine, then get the ingredients for this and make it soon!  A note about using arrowroot powder: you use it in a similar manner to cornstarch.  I usually make a slurry with it before adding it to hot liquids, but you don’t need quite as much water as you do with cornstarch.  I add close to equal amounts of arrowroot and cold water, whisk them together, and then add them to the liquid.  I usually choose arrowroot when cooking with hot liquids because tapioca can sometimes get a little slimy.  Just FYI, HA!

This dish would typically be served over rice or pasta, but obviously those options are out when it comes to paleo.  I served this over a potato/cauliflower/parsnip mash and it was delicious.  You could pretty much do whatever mixture of vegetables that you wanted to–those are just the three that I had some spare of on hand.  I’ve also done mixtures of sweet potato and cauliflower, turnip and potato, and parsnip, carrot, and cauliflower.  I love me some mash!

Chicken Marsala (Paleo)

Serves 3-4

1 pound chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2″ thickness (or just get chicken breast cutlets)

salt and pepper

olive oil

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms

2 Tbsp butter

1/2 C Marsala wine

1/4 C chicken stock

1/4 C dry white wine

2 Tbsp coconut milk (or heavy cream for primal, if wanted)

2 Tbsp arrowroot starch

2 Tbsp cold water

 

1.- Season chicken with salt and pepper.  Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat and fry each piece of chicken 3-4 minutes per side.  Remove to plate and tent with foil.

2.- Reduce heat to medium.  Add butter and mushrooms to the pan.  Cook mushrooms for about 5 minutes, give or take.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add Marsala, wine, chicken stock, and coconut milk.

3.- Once warmed through, add arrowroot slurry to liquid.  Cook 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly.  Pour mushrooms and sauce over chicken to serve.

Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad (Paleo)

Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad

If you can’t tell, this past week we had almost a full week of salads on our plates.  There were great prices on a lot of the fresh produce, so I went a little salad-crazy.  Well, that and it was super easy to chop everything last weekend (when I did the grocery shopping), put it in airtight containers in the refrigerator, and just scoop some out for each meal.  It doesn’t get much easier than that.  That is, unless there were a house elf around here somewhere to do my prep (and cooking) for me!

If you haven’t started making your own PALEO SRIRACHA yet, you should do so immediately.  It’s more flavorful than the bottled stuff–plus it doesn’t have all the junk ingredients contained in the stuff from the store.  That is what I used for this recipe.  I’ll tell you this: if you don’t want a lot of heat on the chicken, decrease the amount of sriracha and add some extra lime juice or honey.  This turned out pretty hot, but according to Isak (the 3 year old), when asked if it was too spicy for him…

“Mommy, it’s delicious spicy in the mouth!”

Sriracha Lime Chicken Salad (Paleo)

Serves 2-4

Chicken

1 pound chicken tenderloins

2-3 Tbsp sriracha (less if you don’t want as much heat)

1 frozen lime, grated (yes, grate the WHOLE lime, peel and all)

1 lime, juiced

3 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

salt and pepper

Salad

4 C chopped lettuce

6 pineapple slices

1 C grape tomatoes, cut in quarters

1/2 C diced red onion

1 avocado, sliced (I forgot to put it on last night)

Dressing

1/4 C olive oil

1/4 C apple cider vinegar

2 limes, juice and zest

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp chopped cilantro

salt and pepper

 

1.- Whisk sriracha, grated lime, lime juice, honey, cilantro, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.  Pour into a ziploc bag with chicken and close.  Squeeze to coat chicken and put in refrigerator to let marinate for at least two hours.

2.- Heat skillet over medium-high heat and add a little fat (maybe a tsp–just enough to slick the cooking surface).  Add chicken to skillet and cook until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes per side).  Remove to tented plate and set aside.

3.- Add pineapple to pan and cook 4-5 minutes per side.  While cooking, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Pour dressing over salad and toss to coat.

4.- Assemble on a plate with salad on bottom, then pineapple rings, then chicken.  Garnish with cilantro if wanted.

Beef with Broccoli (Paleo)

Beef and Broccoli

I grew up in Southwest Missouri where the only Asian food available is “Springfield-style.”  What does that mean?  Trashy.  Meat and vegetables either battered and deep-fried or covered in high fructose corn syrup-flavored MSG sauce.  It was TASTY!  Okay, so it probably tasted better at 3 in the morning when drunk, but whatever.  Just consider it the Taco Bell version of Asian food.  Let me just say this: if I could find a good primal version of cream cheese puffs (for those of you playing the home game, those are crab rangoon sans the crab), I would literally be in heaven.  Yes, LITERALLY.  There are certain foods that are excellent vehicles for cream cheese: ham, bagels, deep-fried wontons.

Anyway, all of this boils down to just one thing: sometimes I want some trashy (tasting) Asian food.  So I made some in a paleo version.  I know, I know, this is right at the line of SWYPO…but I’m not making it every day or anything, or even once a week.  But now I have a recipe (that actually tastes good) for when I have that craving!

Beef with Broccoli (paleo)

Serves 3-4

1.5-2 pounds flank steak, sliced thin and cut into 2″ pieces

1 C beef BONE BROTH

2/3 C coconut aminos

1/3 C honey

1 Tbsp sesame oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

1/4 C tapioca starch + 2 Tbsp water

4 C broccoli florets

 

1.- Grease inside of slow cooker.  Add steak, broth, aminos, honey, sesame oil, and garlic.  Cook on low for 4-5 hours.

2.- In small bowl, whisk tapioca starch and water until combined.  Add to slow cooker and stir.  Cover and cook an additional 25-30 minutes.

3.- Put broccoli in a large tupperware container and add about 1/2″ water.  Place lid, askew, on top of container and microwave for 4 minutes.  Drain and stir broccoli into slow cooker with the beef.  Mix and heat through a bit.  Serve immediately.

Maple Mustard Chicken (Paleo)

Maple Mustard Chicken

Remember the salad dressing that I used for THIS SALAD?  It is a doctored up version of the sauce I made for this chicken.  I just added a little vinegar and oil to it to thin it out a bit.  It’s seriously tasty, and I could use it as a dressing for every salad I eat from here on out.  Well, maybe not every salad.  I mean, it would taste funny on something like a Mexican or Italian salad.

This is a super easy recipe; however, it’s not something that can go all day in the slow cooker (though if you switch the chicken breasts to a pile of bone-in, skin-on chicken parts, you can stretch out the cooking time quite a bit).  But if you are using the boneless, skinless chicken breasts that I used this time, you don’t want to go more than four hours, max (and really, check them at three hours).  If you do, they will turn into shoe leather.  But it really can’t get easier: spray pot, chicken in, whisk liquid, pour liquid, cook chicken.  Done and done.

Maple Mustard Chicken (Paleo)

Serves 4-6

2 pounds chicken breasts

1/2 C maple syrup

1/3 C ground spicy mustard

2 cloves garlic, minced

 

1.- Spray inside of slow cooker.  Place chicken breasts in the slow cooker in 1-2 layers.

2.- Whisk maple syrup, mustard, and garlic in a small bowl.  Pour over chicken in slow cooker.  Cook on low 3-4 hours.  Serve immediately.

* If you want to brown the chicken a bit before serving, put under the broiler for 5-8 minutes

BLT (and more) Salad! (Primal with cheese, paleo without)

BLT and More Salad

Who doesn’t love a BLT?  Seriously, give me their names, because they need convincing about the wonders that are bacon, lettuce, and tomato!  I felt like a BLT this week, but I try not to eat bread all that often.  Let’s face it, when I eat grains, I go all out and eat the good stuff: French pastries and New York style bagels.  I decided to turn the BLT into a salad, and add a few goodies to it.  I decided to add a little crumbled feta cheese to this.  It’s optional, but it is highly delicious.

The dressing is the same dressing I used the other night in our salad that we had with the maple mustard chicken (recipe to show up soon).  It was great with this as well.  Now that I’m typing this, I realize that I was also going to cut up grapes to put in this.  Boo, I’m disappointed that I didn’t remember!  Oh well, I’ll do it next time I make this!

BLT (and more) Salad

Serves 4

1 pound bacon, cooked to crispy and roughly chopped

4 cups chopped dark Romaine

1 C grape tomatoes, cut in quarters

1/2 C red onion, roughly chopped

1/3 C crumbled feta

Dressing:

1/4 C ground spicy mustard

2-3 Tbsp maple syrup

2  Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp olive oil

 

1.- For dressing, put all ingredients in bowl and whisk until well combined.

2.- For salad, put all ingredients in large bowl.  Pour dressing over salad and toss well.  Plate the salad and have at it!

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries (Primal)

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

I tried to figure out some way to make this Whole30 compliant, or even paleo…but there really wasn’t any way.  It’s just too good with the sour cream, and the consistency wasn’t the same with coconut milk.  That being said, the coconut milk still tastes good in the recipe, so if you are okay with the sauce being thinner than a thick sour cream sauce, feel free to replace the sour cream with coconut milk.

This is seriously tasty.  We all know that I love me some good chicken thighs, but this recipe is especially nice.  I found a similar recipe in an issue of Food & Wine a few months ago; however, there were a lot of uncommon or way-too-expensive ingredients along with quite a few non-compliant ingredients.  So I changed it.  A lot.  The only thing in here that resembles the original recipe is chicken + sour cream + potatoes.  What am I getting at?  Try it.

Braised Chicken Thighs with Potatoes and Cranberries

Serves 4-6

1 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil

12 garlic cloves (8 whole and 4 crushed)

1 C sour cream

2/3 C dried shitake mushrooms

salt and pepper

2 pounds chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)

2 medium potatoes, cleaned and sliced thin

1/2 C dried cranberries

 

1.- Heat 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil in medium saucepan over low heat.  Add the whole garlic cloves and cook until golden and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).  Add 4 C water and bring to boil over high heat.  Cover and simmer over medium-low heat until reduced to 2C (about an hour).  Strain into a bowl.

2.- Soak shitake mushrooms in warm water for a few minutes (until softened) and then drain.  In another bowl, whisk 1 C garlic broth with the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.  Stir the mushrooms into the cream mixture.

3.- Preheat oven to 350.  In a large cast iron (or oven-proof) skillet, heat 1 Tbsp coconut oil.  Season chicken with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat until golden all over (about 10 minutes).  Remove chicken to plate and pour off all but 1 Tbsp fat.  Arrange potato slices in skillet so they are slightly overlapping.  Set chicken on potatoes, skin-side down.  Scatter cranberries and crushed garlic around (and on) chicken.  Pour garlic cream sauce on top.  Roast 20 minutes, reduce heat to 300, and roast another 45 minutes.

4.- Turn chicken skin-side up and broil for 8-10 minutes before serving.